Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other state leaders raked in millions in campaign contributions from energy companies after the state electrical grid collapsed in February, according to the Texas Tribune.
An abysmal cold front swept over Texas in February, causing the power grid to fail in several regions of the state. Nearly 200 people ultimately died of hypothermia, carbon monoxide poisoning, car wrecks, and more after the electrical grid could not keep up with the large uptick in energy demand.
Texas legislators are barred from taking campaign donations while the main legislative session is ongoing. The close of the session in May ushered in a downpour of cash from the energy industry toward some of the state’s most influential leaders, namely Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Abbott reportedly brought in $4.6 million from oil, gas, and energy industry leaders including a $1 million campaign donation from the co-founder of a pipeline company that benefitted from the February winter failure to the tune of $2.4 billion. The Texas Tribune noted that the co-founder donates $250,000 almost every year to Abbott – the only year he donated substantially more was in 2021.
Abbott’s next-in-line, Patrick, also received a windfall from energy companies following the February freeze, the Tribune reported. He brought in $1.3 million in total from energy interest groups in 2021, or just over a quarter of his total received contributions in 2021. He received about 12% more from energy interests in 2021 than he did in 2019, according to the Tribune, and the majority of his recent energy contributions were from oil executives.
In June, Abbott signed two bills into law with the intention of weatherizing local energy grids to prevent a similar February fallout.
The laws, however, don’t require energy companies to take action until 2022 at the earliest. Calls to reform the electrical grid were renewed quickly after Abbott signed the bills when the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) warned residents to conserve power amidst sweltering summer temperatures in the state after several generators faced outages.
Despite the repeated energy grid strains, Abbott did not include anything related to fixing the power grid on the agenda of his first special legislative session of 2021, which ends August 6. Abbott is expected to call for a second special session, and barring an executive order from him, Texas lawmakers will be hamstrung from passing additional reforms to the power grid unless House Democrats return after staging a walkout to break quorum and prevent restrictive voting laws from passing.
It’s unclear if House Democrats will travel back to Austin if a second special session is called. Many of the Democratic members currently remain in Washington, DC, to meet with party leaders, and two representatives were spotted on Tuesday vacationing in Portugal.
The Biden administration is canceling two border wall contracts in the Laredo sector of the US-Mexico border that span roughly 31 miles, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Friday.
Shortly after taking office in January, President Joe Biden paused border wall construction projects that were initiated by former President Donald Trump, calling for “a review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct” the barrier.
Friday’s announcement comes after the Biden administration last month returned to the military more than $2 billion in funding that the Trump administration had diverted for border wall construction.
The Biden administration’s handling of Trump’s border wall projects has unfolded at a slower pace due to funds having been allocated through different government agencies.
The contracts for the Laredo projects planned for 31 miles of border wall to be built along the Rio Grande, funded with DHS Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations.
However, construction on the projects had not yet started, nor had land acquisition been executed.
“DHS continues to review all other paused border barrier projects and is in the process of determining which projects may be necessary to address life, safety, environmental, or other remediation requirements and where to conduct environmental planning,” the DHS release said. “The Administration also continues to call on Congress to cancel remaining border wall funding and instead fund smarter border security measures, like border technology and modernization of land ports of entry, that are proven to be more effective at improving safety and security at the border.”
The Trump administration constructed roughly 450 miles of wall over four years, according to The Associated Press. However, only 52 miles of wall were built in areas where no barrier had previously existed.
The border between the US and Mexico stretches across more than 1,900 miles; some sections already had barriers prior to Trump taking office in 2017.
DHS is utilizing previously-appropriated funds to assess environmental issues that derived from previous wall construction, as well as reviewing land seizure cases to determine if those acquisitions are still necessary.
“Only Congress and the president can fix our broken border,” Abbott said at the time. “But in the meantime, Texas is going to do everything possible, including beginning to make arrests, to keep our community safe.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had harsh words for Texas Democrats who fled the state Monday for Washington, DC, in a dramatic walkout to block passage of a series of Republican-led bills.
The Kentucky Republican accused the state Democratic lawmakers of coming to the nation’s capital to have a moment in the sun.
The legislators “decided to grab some beer, hop on a private plane and flee the state in what they are pretending is some great moral crusade,” McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, according to CNN’s Manu Raju. “In reality, they’ve just come here to Washington to snap selfies and bask in the limelight.”
The state lawmakers this week met with some of the nation’s top leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, to raise concerns about voting rights in the nation. Vice President Kamala Harris threw her support behind their walkout on Monday, saying: “I applaud their standing for the rights of all Americans and all Texans to express their voice through their vote unencumbered.”
Speaking to KVUE on Monday, the two-term Republican criticized Democratic lawmakers who fled en masse to block several conservative bills from passing in a legislative special session.
“As soon as they come back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done,” he said.
Democratic leaders in the Texas House said on Monday that they had flown to Washington, DC, to “refuse to let the Republican-led legislature force through dangerous legislation that would trample on Texans’ freedom to vote.”
Under Texas law, two-thirds of lawmakers must be present for legislative business to proceed.
Abbott convened the special session earlier this month to pass a litany of conservative priorities, including legislation targeting voting, abortion access, transgender rights, and critical race theory.
The marquee issue is a restrictive voting bill that Republican lawmakers have sought largely in response to President Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden.
The bill would modify early-voting hours, curb the 24/7 voting centers that were popular with shift workers in Democratic-leaning Harris County in last year’s presidential election, and scrap straight-ticket voting, among other measures.
However, the GOP-dominated Legislature is unlikely to take up that bill.
While no Democratic state senators had accompanied their House counterparts to the nation’s capital as of Tuesday, a Democratic official said several senators might travel there, according to The New York Times.
Abbott told KVUE that he would not relent from carrying out his legislative objectives.
The governor said he would “continue to call special session after special session” until Democratic lawmakers are present.
GOP Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas on Sunday contended that drive-thru voting, which was a popular method of voting in the 2020 election, could potentially allow passengers to have a “coercive effect” on voters.
“More than half of the voters who showed up [for these voting options] were people of color. You say you want to make it easier to vote. That’s going to make it harder to vote, and the question is, why make it harder for some Texans to vote unless the point is to suppress voting by people of color?” he asked Abbott.
Abbott argued that counties needed to have policies in place to protect the integrity of their ballots.
“If you do drive-thru voting, are you going to have people in the car with you? It could be somebody from your employer or somebody else that may have some coercive effect on the way that you would cast your ballot, which is contrary to you going into the ballot box, alone and no one there watching over your shoulder,” he said.
Abbott said that populous Harris County, which tested drive-thru voting in a primary runoff election last year before expanding it to the general election, lacked the authority to “create its own election system.”
“With regard to the drive-thru voting, this violates the fundamentals of what – the way that voting integrity has always been achieved and that is the sanctity of the ballot box,” he said.
Harris County is anchored by Houston, a longtime Democratic stronghold.
Wallace also questioned the GOP-led push to halt 24-hour voting centers, which was popular with shift workers who work nontraditional hours.
“If 24-hour voting worked, why not continue it?” Wallace asked.
“We are providing more hours per day for voting to make sure that anybody with any type of background, any type of working situation is going to have the opportunity to go vote,” Abbott said.
The proposed Texas voting law would bar officials from permitting 24-hour voting centers during early voting and would make it a felony for election officials to send unsolicited vote-by-mail applications to voters, among other measures.
The lawmakers who support leaving the state have argued that the action “would bring a renewed spotlight to voting rights in Texas” and put pressure on Democrats in the US Senate to enact federal voting reforms, according to several Democratic lawmakers who spoke with The Times.
The authors of a book that looks at the role of slavery in the Battle of the Alamo said they felt pressured to cancel a promotional event because GOP leaders in Texas complained about it.
The event was expected to happen Thursday evening at the Bullock Texas State History Museum, the Texas Tribune reported. But museum organizers canceled it with less than four hours to go, citing pressure from Republican lawmakers in Texas to do so.
“The Bullock was receiving increased pressure on social media about hosting the event, as well as to the museum’s board of directors (Gov Abbott being one of them) and decided to pull out as a co-host all together,” Penguin Random House said in a statement reported by the Tribune.
Gov. Greg Abbott did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, but Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said on Twitter he called for the event’s cancellation.
“As a member of the Preservation Board, I told staff to cancel this event as soon as I found out about it,” Patrick said. “This fact-free rewriting of TX history has no place @BullockMuseum.”
In response, Chris Tomlinson, one of the book’s authors, accused Patrick of “oppressing free speech and policing thought in Texas.”
“@BullockMuseum proves it is a propaganda outlet,” Tomlinson said on Twitter. “As for his fact-free comment, well, a dozen people professional historians disagree.”
The Bullock did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The event for the book, called “Forget the Alamo,” had counted 300 RSVPs, according to the Tribune.
The book examines the way the Battle of the Alamo is taught and concludes that important parts of the story have for generations been left out of the narrative.
“Just as the site of the Alamo was left in ruins for decades, its story was forgotten and twisted over time, with the contributions of Tejanos-Texans of Mexican origin, who fought alongside the Anglo rebels-scrubbed from the record, and the origin of the conflict over Mexico’s push to abolish slavery papered over,” a description of the book from Penguin Random House says. “As uncomfortable as it may be to hear for some, celebrating the Alamo has long had an echo of celebrating whiteness.”
The event’s cancellation comes amid a wave of conservative backlash against critical race theory. Florida banned the teaching of critical race theory in public schools last month and other states have taken or are taking similar measures. GOP leaders have labeled critical race theory a “dangerous ideology,” arguing it twists the facts of US history.
Gov. Kay Ivey announced on Monday that the state was halting its participation in federal unemployment benefits starting June 19.
Those include the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program for gig workers and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation for the long-term unemployed.
“We have announced the end date of our state of emergency, there are no industry shutdowns, and daycares are operating with no restrictions. Vaccinations are available for all adults. Alabama is giving the federal government our 30-day notice that it’s time to get back to work,” Ivey said in a press release.
Experts say other factors are keeping workers from jumping back into the labor force, such as a lack of childcare access and fear of COVID-19 infection.
Alaska will end its participation in the extra $300 in weekly benefits effective June 12.
“As Alaska’s economy opens up, employers are posting a wide range of job opportunities and workers are needed,” labor and workforce development commissioner, Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter, said in a statement.
Extensions for the state benefit will continue through September 6.
Arizona, however, is setting aside some federal funds to provide a one-time $2,000 bonus for people who return to work by Sept. 6. There are some strings attached.
People qualify for the measure if they are already receiving jobless aid — and they must earn less than $25 hourly at their next job. That amounts to a yearly salary of $52,000. Individuals must also work 10 weeks with a new employer to get the cash.
The state last recorded an unemployment rate of 6.7%, higher than the 4.9% it had immediately before the pandemic in February 2020.
Arizona’s average jobless payout is $238.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced on May 7 that the state would no longer participate in federal unemployment after June 26.
“The $300 federal supplement helped thousands of Arkansans make it through this tough time, so it served a good purpose. Now we need Arkansans back on the job so that we can get our economy back to full speed,” Hutchinson said in a press release, which cited South Carolina’s and Montana’s separate decisions to opt out of the federal assistance program.
Its unemployment rate is 4.4%, slightly higher than the 3.8% level of February 2020. The average weekly benefit in the state is $248.
Florida will end its participation in the $300 in additional weekly benefits effective June 26. However, other federal programs, including PUA, “will continue for the time being as DEO [Department of Economic Opportunity] continues to carefully monitor job posting and industry hiring trends.”
In a press release, DEO Secretary Dane Eagle said “transitioning away from this benefit will help meet the demands of small and large businesses who are ready to hire and expand their workforce.” Florida’s unemployment rate was 4.7% in March 2021, 1.9% higher than 2.8% in February 2020. The state’s average weekly benefit is $235.22.
Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday that the state will end its participation in federal unemployment benefit programs effective June 26.
“Even in the middle of a global pandemic, job growth and economic development in Georgia remained strong — including an unemployment rate below the national average,” Kemp said in a statement. “To build on our momentum, accelerate a full economic recovery, and get more Georgians back to work in good-paying jobs, our state will end its participation in the federal COVID-19 unemployment programs, effective June 26th.”
Gov. Brad Little said Idaho would no longer draw federal money to fund enhanced unemployment insurance, and the state will cancel its program on June 19.
It’s time to get back to work,” Little said in a Tuesday statement. “My decision is based on a fundamental conservative principle — we do not want people on unemployment. We want people working.”
The state was among those that recently reimposed a job-seeking requirement for people receiving jobless aid.
Idaho’s unemployment rate stands at 3.2%, a higher level compared to 2.6% in February 2020. The average weekly unemployment benefit in the state is $355, per the Labor Department.
Gov. Eric Holcomb said the state is terminating all federal unemployment programs effective June 19.
“There are help wanted signs posted all over Indiana, and while our economy took a hit last year, it is roaring like an Indy 500 race car engine now,” Holcomb said in the news release. “I am hearing from multiple sector employers that they want and need to hire more Hoosiers to grow.”
The state is also among those now requiring people to actively seek work while on unemployment.
Indiana’s unemployment rate is 3.9%, higher than the 3.2% it had in February 2020. The average weekly benefit is $254.
Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state would cancel federal jobless benefits on June 12.
“Federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs initially provided displaced Iowans with crucial assistance when the pandemic began,” Reynolds said in a statement. “But now that our businesses and schools have reopened, these payments are discouraging people from returning to work.”
The state’s unemployment rate stood at 3.7%, still slightly higher than the 2.9% it recorded in February 2020. Iowa’s average weekly jobless benefit is $430.
Louisiana is the first Democrat-led state to prematurely cut off its participation in $300 weekly benefits. Those benefits will end July 31.
Last week, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law a bill that would increase the state’s regular weekly benefits by $28. One of the bill’s stipulations was that supplemental unemployment benefits had to end on July 31.
Local news outlet WWLTV reported that, prior to the bill’s passage, the governor had already said he planned on ending benefits in early August, when school begins.
Maryland will end its participation in all federal unemployment programs effective July 3.
Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement that the state has vaccinated 70% of its adults, hitting the goal set by President Joe Biden, and that Maryland’s “health and economic recovery continues to outpace the nation.”
“While these federal programs provided important temporary relief, vaccines and jobs are now in good supply,” Hogan said. “And we have a critical problem where businesses across our state are trying to hire more people, but many are facing severe worker shortages.”
Mississippi is among the seven states that have not lifted hourly pay for workers since the last increase to the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.
Gov. Mike Parson announced on Tuesday that Missouri would be ending its participation in federal unemployment on June 12.
“While these benefits provided supplementary financial assistance during the height of COVID-19, they were intended to be temporary, and their continuation has instead worsened the workforce issues we are facing,” Parson said in a statement. “It’s time that we end these programs that have ultimately incentivized people to stay out of the workforce.”
Missouri raised its minimum wage to $10.30 on January 1, 2021.
Gov. Greg Gianforte announced the state was ending federal benefits on June 27.
“Incentives matter, and the vast expansion of federal unemployment benefits is now doing more harm than good,” Gianforte said in a statement. “We need to incentivize Montanans to reenter the workforce.”
Taking its place will be a $1,200 return-to-work bonus, an amount equivalent to four weeks of receiving federal jobless aid. Workers will be eligible for the cash after a month on the job. The measure enjoys support among some congressional Republicans.
The average weekly benefit in the state is $468 without the federal supplement. The state’s unemployment rate has reached pre-pandemic levels, at 3.8% in April.
Nebraska will end its participation in all federal unemployment programs effective June 19.
According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Gov. Pete Ricketts said the benefits are a “disincentive for some people” in returning to work. The curtailing of benefits come as part of the state’s initiative to reopen and “return to normalcy.”
Gov. Chris Sununu said on Thursday that he was planning on ending the additional $300 weekly benefit before it’s due to expire, NECN reports. However, the date that benefits will be discontinued in the state remains unclear.
The state will also begin work search requirements for those on UI beginning May 23.
The New Hampshire unemployment rate was 3.0% in March 2021, above the February 2020 rate of 2.6%. The state’s average weekly benefit is $277.26.
Gov. Doug Burgum said the state would pull out of federal unemployment benefit programs on June 19.
“Safe, effective vaccines have been available to every adult in North Dakota for months now, and we have an abundance of job openings with employers who are eager to hire,” Burgum said in a news release, noting the state had its highest number of online job postings since July 2015.
The state’s unemployment rate is 4.4%, still almost double its level of 2.3% in February 2020. North Dakota’s average weekly unemployment payment is $480.
Gov. Mike Dewine said the state will scrap the federal unemployment benefit programs on June 26.
“This assistance was always intended to be temporary,” DeWine said in a statement.
The state’s unemployment rate stands at 4.7%, the same level it had in February 2020. The average weekly benefit in Ohio is $383.
Gov. Kevin Stitt is dropping all federal unemployment programs starting on June 26.
“That gives people six weeks to get off the sidelines and get back into the game,” he said in a news release.
Stitt also announced that the first 20,000 laid-off workers now receiving benefits that are rehired will get a $1,200 “incentive using funds from the American Rescue Plan.”
People are eligible if they receive some form of federal unemployment aid between May 2 through 15, and keep their new job for at least six weeks. Individuals must also have a 32-hour workweek.
The Oklahoma unemployment rate stands at 5.2%, higher than the 3.1% it had before the pandemic broke out in February last year. The average weekly benefit is $310.
Even before the jobs report hit, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster said the state would stop its participation in federal unemployment effective June 30.
“This labor shortage is being created in large part by the supplemental unemployment payments that the federal government provides claimants on top of their state unemployment benefits,” McMaster wrote in a letter to the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce.
McMaster spoke with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson about the expanded unemployment program, saying he believed it’s a “counterproductive policy.”
The average weekly benefit in the state stands at $228. South Carolina’s unemployment rate is 5.1%, still nearly double its pre-pandemic rate of 2.8% in February 2020.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, 76.7% of the unemployment insurance that South Carolina disbursed came from federal funds, according to the report from the Economic Policy Institute. The minimum wage in South Carolina was last raised in 2009, when the federal minimum wage as a whole was increased to $7.25.
Gov. Kristi Noem announced Wednesday that the state will end its participation in federal unemployment benefit programs effective the week of June 26. In a related statement, the state’s Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman noted that “help wanted signs line our streets.”
“South Dakota is, and has been, ‘Open for Business.’ Ending these programs is a necessary step towards recovery, growth, and getting people back to work,” Hultman added.
The South Dakota unemployment rate was 2.9% in March 2021, unchanged from 2.9% in February 2020. The state’s average weekly benefit is $369.
Gov. Bill Lee announced Tuesday that federal unemployment benefits would end in the state effective July 3.
“We will no longer participate in federal pandemic unemployment programs because Tennesseans have access to more than 250,000 jobs in our state,” Lee said in a statement. “Families, businesses and our economy thrive when we focus on meaningful employment and move on from short-term, federal fixes.”
The state’s unemployment rate in March 2021 was 5%, a 0.1% increase from the month before and 1% higher than the March 2020 rate. Tennessee’s average weekly unemployment payment is $219.45. Tennessee is one of seven states where the minimum wage remains at the federal level of $7.25.
Gov. Greg Abbott said he was scrapping all federal unemployment programs on June 26.
“The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring in communities throughout the state,” Abbott said in a statement.
Nearly 1.3 million people in the state will experience a sharp cut in their unemployment aid, per an estimate from Andrew Stettner at the liberal-leaning Century Foundation. It’s the largest state yet to eliminate the programs, with the eliminated aid coming to an estimated $8.8 billion.
The average weekly benefit in Texas is $405. The state’s current 6.9% unemployment rate is still nearly double what it used to be in February 2020.
Utah is withdrawing from federal unemployment aid programs effective June 26.
“This is the natural next step in getting the state and people’s lives back to normal,” Gov. Spencer Cox said in a statement. “The market should not be competing with the government for workers.”
The state has a 2.9% unemployment rate, slightly higher than the 2.5% pre-pandemic level in February 2020. The average weekly benefit in Utah is $428.
West Virginia will end its participation in federal unemployment benefit programs effective June 19 at midnight.
“We need everyone back to work,” Gov. Jim Justice said in a statement. “Our small businesses and West Virginia’s economy depend on it.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed Article X of the state budget on Friday, effectively defunding the entire state legislature after Democrats staged a walkout to prevent restrictive voting laws from passing in May.
“Texans don’t run from a legislative fight, and they don’t walk away from unfinished business,” Abbott said in a statement. “Funding should not be provided for those who quit their job early, leaving their state with unfinished business and exposing taxpayers to higher costs for an additional legislative session. I therefore object to and disapprove of these appropriations.”
State Republicans were close to passing Senate Bill 7 in May which would have cracked down on initiatives that local election officials undertook in 2020 to expand voting options during the COVID-19 pandemic including:
Making it a felony offense for election officials to send unsolicited absentee-ballot applications to voters, even those who are eligible to vote absentee in Texas. Harris County officials tried to send absentee applications to the county’s 2.4 million registered voters in 2020 but were blocked in court.
Limiting counties to a maximum of eight hours of voting, between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m., on Sundays during early voting.
But while Abbott’s aim is to punish Democratic legislators, the people most affected will likely be legislative staffers. Abbott may have vetoed the piece of the budget with the legislature’s overall funding, but Sec. 24 of the Texas Constitution states that “Members of the Legislature shall receive from the Public Treasury a salary of Six Hundred Dollars per Month.”
The state constitution also dictates that the legislators must receive a per diem pay for every day they serve when called for a special session, so they would still likely get paid regardless of the state budget.
Democratic State Rep. Sheryl Cole said on Twitter that the legislators “will be alright,” but stressed that staffers are going to face the brunt of Abbott’s veto.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told a podcast host on Tuesday that he would solicit donations from the public to fund the construction of Texas’ border wall.
Abbott said he would formally unveil the effort later this week and welcomed financial support from around the world.
“I will also be providing a link that you can click on and go to for everybody in the United States – really everybody in the entire world – who wants to help Texas build the border wall, there will be a place on there where they can contribute,” Abbott said during an interview on the podcast “Ruthless.”
The governor announced last week that Texas would begin building its own border wall after President Joe Biden stopped most construction of the barrier when he took office in January. The governor also said his state would step up its arrests of migrants illegally crossing the border.
“Only Congress and the president can fix our broken border,” Abbott said during a speech at border security conference in Del Rio. “But in the meantime, Texas is going to do everything possible, including beginning to make arrests, to keep our community safe.”
The governor provided few details about how he would collect and spend the donated money, but said it would go to a fund “overseen by the state of Texas in the governor’s office” and pledged “great transparency.”
A different effort to raise money to build the border wall ended in scandal. During Trump’s presidency, Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage and former top Trump advisor Steve Bannon raised more than $25 million for a border wall fund Kolfage created called We Build the Wall. Bannon, Kolfage, and two of their associates were arrested and charged with fraud. Bannon was pardoned by Trump shortly before the ex-president left office.
A Texas valedictorian went viral and received praise from Hilary Clinton for her “courage” after she dropped her pre-approved speech and instead used her allotted time to attack Gov. Greg Abbott’s recently-passed anti-abortion law.
Paxton Smith, the valedictorian at Lake Highlands High School Class of 2021, had received approval to give a speech in which she discussed her perception of the media, she told D Magazine.
Instead, Smith attacked the anti-abortion bill signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in May.
“Today I was going to talk about TV and media and content because it’s something that’s very important to me,” said Smith.
“However, under light of recent events, it feels wrong to talk about anything but what is affecting me and millions of other people in the state.
“Recently the heartbeat bill was passed in Texas.
“Starting in September, there will be a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy regardless of whether the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. Six weeks: That’s all women get.”
She added: “Most of them don’t realize that they’re pregnant by six weeks. So before they have a chance to decide if they’re emotionally, physically, and financially stable enough to carry out a full-term pregnancy, before they have the chance to decide if they can take on the responsibility of bringing a human being into the world, that decision is made for them by a stranger.”
In an interview with D Magazine, Smith said that some administrators were angered by her decision to drop the pre-approved speech, and said the school could withhold her diploma. But she said that threat had not materialized.